Saturday, May 10, 2008

Braised Peas with Pancetta and Onions

Laurie from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska is the host of this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I have a vegetable that makes winter worthwhile - Green Peas


Shelling peas would probably be one of my earliest vivid memories - my mother would be tending to the rest of the preparations for the meal and I would be in my little half apron sitting by the table with a huge bowl of peas in front of me. With a colander on my lap to collect the peas, I'd break open the pods at a bit of a height just to hear them pinging against the metal.

When it came to deciding what to make, I really couldn't go past one of my mother's recipes for peas. It's very simple and can be done with or without tomatoes - I've elected to make the version without tomatoes.

The base for both versions is a slow braise of onion, garlic and pancetta and when that has softened and browned, the peas are added. It's then a matter of adding either water or enough diced tomatoes to just cover the peas. Cook it slowly until the peas are just tender and the liquid has reduced. Season to taste and I can guarantee this is one side-dish you'll never have leftover.

peas with pancetta and onions

Braised Peas with Pancetta and Onions

250 grams fresh peas, shelled weight (you can substitute frozen peas - no need to defrost, add them straight from the freezer)
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
pancetta, cut into lardons
salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Place a little oil and a small knob of butter in a skillet over a medium heat. When the butter has melted add the pancetta and cook until it has started to brown. Turn the heat down low and add the sliced onion and garlic - stir well and let it cook it very slowly until it has softened and become golden.

During the slow cooking the onion will almost break and release it's juices - it's at this stage that you add the shelled peas along with just enough water to barely cover them.

Simmer until the peas are almost cooked, turn up the heat slightly to reduce the excess liquid. Season to taste and then serve at once.

peas with pancetta and onions

Serve this alongside a good creamy mashed potato and you'll be wanting seconds.



  1. Oh yes, I do love peas. I remember shelling them when I was a kid, but these days I'm mostly using frozen ones. This sounds so delicious! What a great combination.

  2. Braised peas are wonderful and your version is making me hunger for them. Thanks for sending it to Weekend Herb Blogging!

  3. Thanks Kalyn - frozen peas are about the only frozen veg I use.

    Thanks Laurie!

  4. What a fantastic picture! Just came across your blog, it's all lovely. I saw your mother's day post and had heart palpitations - until I remembered that in the UK it's celebrated in March, phew!

  5. Thanks Lizzie - do they still call it mothering sunday?


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